Woodland High School’s Jazz Choir won first place in Vocal Division 3 of the Commencement Bay Jazz Festival for the second year in a row – and this is only the festival’s second year.

“The quality of our program is what differentiates Woodland High School from our competitors,” said Brent LiaBraaten, WHS Choir Teacher. “We receive so much support from the school and the district that our students feel motivated and inspired to perform.”

Students taking Jazz Choir do so knowing that competition comes with the course. “It’s a unique course because it quite literally is performance-based,” said LiaBraaten. “Students meet daily during the zero hour period starting at 7:15 a.m. and have to be totally committed to attend performances; if we’re missing a single student, the choir’s sound is incomplete so it’s imperative all students attend.”

The choir features a pianist, guitarists and even a drummer. “The music repertoire differentiates jazz choir from standard choir, so we’re lucky to have such talented student musicians from the band willing to participate in our class, too,” said LiaBraaten. “The dedication of these students really speaks to how amazing our band program really is, too.”

LiaBraaten points to the support of the Woodland community as one of the keys to the success of Woodland Public Schools’ music programs. “Our community really enjoys music and their support of their schools shows,” he said. “Our fundraisers sell out and we always have big audiences at our performances – their support makes all the difference for our students.”